I was listening Bokura no Jidai e –Go ahead- by Kinomiya Takao while writing this. I do love his voice. (swoon)
Yes, the point about the royalty thing was to get ideas. I'm writing another Beyblade story which involves fairytales and kingdoms and such, but one big idea was missing. Thanks to you guys, I finally got an epiphany.
And about how this ends/continues? I was just curious how obvious the plot is or how in sync I'm with my readers. So no pressure! Besides, they're fun to read.
"Within the core of each of us is the child we once were. This child constitutes the foundation of what we have become, who we are and what we will be."
Chapter twelve: My Mother
"I'm starting to see why my son was so intent upon having you here. Take care of him, won't you?"
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Once Rei had closed the door behind him, he took a huge breath. Being a companion didn't seem as easy as he had first thought. He had a whole person to take care of now! Well, kind of. Thankfully Kai was potty-trained. Then Rei happened to see just the person he wanted to talk to.
"Ah! Boris!" he called to catch the man's attention. Boris turned, and upon seeing Rei, stopped to wait for him to catch up. Together they continued towards the lounge they were supposed to meet everyone else.
"So, did you want to talk to me or what?" Boris asked when Rei didn't say anything at first.
"Ah, yes. I've been thinking about this companion stuff, but I've come to realize that I have no idea what to do. I know the job cursorily but I'm not sure how to apply it, especially as I started this late. So, I was wondering if you could tell me in more detail what a companion is supposed to do," Rei explained. Boris gave him a doubting look and raised an eyebrow.
"And you aren't asking this from Yuriy who is a companion because…?"
"I don't think he would tell me neutrally," Rei told honestly. "It already seems like he's got complete control over your relationship," he admitted a little sheepishly. Boris sweatdropped.
"I guess he's not that good of an example, huh? Well, why aren't you asking Kai then?" the Russian man inquired and Rei looked a little uncomfortable.
"I'm not sure he would be honest with me either, you know? He might just pretend there's nothing for me to do. Besides, I don't want to bother him with this."
"But it's okay to bother me?" Boris teased. Rei's face fell and one could almost see the apology shining on the boy's eyes before he could word it. The Russian man took pity on him. "Okay, okay, I get it. I just have to tell you what a companion does, right?"
Rei nodded, eagerly waiting on how he could finally fulfil his job and be of help for Kai. Boris thought hard for a while, but then he stopped suddenly.
"Wait. What kind of educations have you received?"
Rei was a little stunned by the sudden question and halted as well. "Well, I've never been to school… My mother, father and sometimes even my brothers would teach me things, why?"
Boris rubbed a hand over his face. "This isn't good. A companion is supposed to be on the same level with their partner, as you know, but I don't think you have had any training on the things Kai does, have you?"
Rei looked a little worried. "What does Kai do then?"
"He takes care of this estate and the rented out lands belonging to the Hiwatari's. He also does some of the book-keeping about the trades, I think. You wouldn't happen to know anything about economy?"
Rei made a long face. "We skipped most parts of it since I held no interest whatsoever towards economy. What goes around comes around, huh?"
Boris grinned suddenly and threw an arm on Rei's shoulders. "Then you can just stay as a housewife and cook his meals or something!" Rei blushed to beet red and hastily opened the door to the lounge.
"No way!" he hissed to the still grinning Russian.
"Then I'm afraid you'll have to ask him yourself," Boris whispered right back while closing the door behind them. "Go talk to Kai and tell him what you want. I'm sure he has some ideas, since he made you come here, after all," he said with a wink that's meaning was lost to Rei who felt a pair of eyes on him. As he glanced to the occupants already there, he couldn't tell who had been the one making the chills run down his back as everyone seemed to be looking at them.
Rei looked at Kai for a moment, and then sighed. There was a funeral coming and the man already had his hands full with the estate and other business. And now Rei was going to bother him a bit more? The Chinese boy felt his heart sink at the thought.
"Is something wrong, Rei?" Kai asked when they sat down.
"Oh, no, nothing's wrong," the neko-jin assured hastily. "Just a lot on my mind, that's all."
The conversation was abruptly halted at Yuriy stood up, looked at them with a blank expression and marched out of the room. Everyone exchanged questioning glances but no one knew what had gotten to the Russian companion. 'Just when I thought that I might ask Yuriy as well, about being a companion,' Rei thought to himself, and turned reluctantly towards Kai.
"Hey, Kai…" was all that Rei got out before the dinner was announced to be ready. Immediately he rose from his seat and moved to the dining room but then a hand stopped him.
"Rei, you were saying something," Kai prompted him while holding them back in the lounge.
"Ah, forget it, it's nothing important," Rei tried to brush it off but he really wasn't good at lying.
The hand on Rei's arm tightened its hold. "Nothing you say is unimportant. Tell me," Kai insisted. The boy hesitated for a while but after thinking about it, he really wanted to do something for Kai, so he had no other choice but to ask. He had already raised the subject after all.
"Well, there is something I want to talk to you about, Kai, but it can wait. Let's go to eat now and I'll tell you later, okay?"
"Really?" Kai asked, a little dubious.
"Yeah, of course. But maybe not tonight, I think it'll take a while. Let's say tomorrow morning. Is that a good time?"
"Okay, we'll talk about it tomorrow, then. But let's go to eat now, I'm starving!" Rei announced, exaggerating near-starvation. Well, he had only eaten breakfast and the small snacks earlier and it was already pretty late in the evening. Maybe he wasn't exaggerating that much.
The dinner was a relatively pleasant affair. Rei had no idea that the Hiwatari dinners were usually very quiet and subdued, and none of them had the heart to point this out. Not that anyone seemed to mind much since after some coaxing, Rei had managed to join them all to the conversation, one way or another, for just a moment or for longer periods of time. Kai felt (again) unexpectedly relaxed, but kept sending hostile glances towards his father, who in turn ignored them.
Rei, on the other hand, was having the time of his life. Now that he knew everyone and felt comfortable around them, he couldn't wait to listen to different stories about travels or point of views on the world's matters. He was especially keen on listening Takao, since they hadn't met for such a long time, but also favoured Lai and Mao. For some reason Yuriy wouldn't talk to Boris and seemed to strictly refrain from taking part on the conversation for more than a few minutes. But there was one person he didn't talk to at all. Even though the reason was simple; he didn't know who she was.
When the discussion continued to flow without him, Rei finally yielded to his curiosity and leaned to quietly talk to Kai.
"Who is that woman sitting at the table?"
Kai glanced mightily disinterested at the person in question and replied, "Hiwatari Elena."
It took a moment for the neko-jin to connect the dots.
"She's your mother?!" Rei hissed in surprise. "When did she come back? Did you talk to her already? Where was she?" he continued with great curiosity. Kai halted in his movements and regarded his companion for a while. Then he sighed and set his cutlery on the table.
"She was with father in China; naturally, she came back today with father, and no, I haven't talked to her."
Rei frowned slightly. "Why? Don't you want to?"
"Not particularly," Kai replied and picked up his cutlery again. The Hiwatari heir tried to get back to eating but irritably noticed that Rei's aura of concern and confusion was disrupting his appetite. Sighing again he caught the neko-jin's interest that had been wandering over to his mother, and decided to elaborate a little.
"We don't get along very well, so we try not to get in each other's way. Or rather, I avoid her, because I know that I can't stand her personality. She could care less; that's just the way she is."
"What's wrong with her personality?" Rei wondered.
"She's the perfect wife, almost the definition of Yamato Nadeshiko," Kai snorted, scoffing at the woman on the other side of the table. "She's got her part right down the dot: Always following my father and taking care of his needs, never complaining about anything. Being the perfect, quiet little host, the beautiful flower at my father's side. She's detestable," the man spat out. Rei was stunned at the hatred Kai showed about his own mother. The Russian man realized how harsh he had been and his expression softened slightly for Rei.
"Don't let it bother you, Rei. She's always been like that," Kai explained but the Chinese boy still looked worried.
"But doesn't it bother you?" Rei persisted. This surprised the other one who had never been asked that. No one ever cared what he thought. And now someone did…
"Yes, it does bother me," Kai confessed. "But it's been too long; I can't make myself care anymore. I'm just glad to be the first-born, I guess," he commented.
"How so?" the boy asked, intrigued.
"She refuses to have more children. That's why I'm an only child."
"Refuses to have more?" Rei echoed.
"I'm not sure what it entails in total but I know that if she does get pregnant, she terminates it with the doctors. Daitenji-sensei told me," he explained. "Well, she's done her part and given an heir for the family so that's that, I would imagine. Now she can just enjoy the life of luxury," Kai commented sarcastically.
They both watched her for a while, lost in their thoughts.
"Sometimes I do wonder," Kai continued quietly after a pause.
"About what?" Rei asked quickly, intrigued.
"What would it be like to have a mother." After that, the man returned for his food and Rei's attention was drawn away as Boris wanted to ask him something. It turned out that the Russian man was trying to get Rei to explain what they had been whispering about, in some weird cipher, but the boy pretended not to realize this.
The rest of the dinner continued on without any disturbances, save for Yuriy marching out of the dining hall after he had eaten. Again everyone looked surprise and Rei was even a little worried. Boris seemed to feel the same way as he quickly excused himself and went after the redhead.
As they moved towards the study where it was customary for the men to have a smoke and a glass or two of something to drink, Mao excused herself along with her brother, Takao and Max. Rei assumed that the travelling had taken its toll on them. He was also a bit tired but persisted for a while longer to be able to spend some extra time with his father. Mostly he just listened to their conversation as he was too exhausted to participate actively. Kai faired a lot better, probably because he hadn't woken up as early as the neko-jin. Not too soon Rei had to say good-bye to his father and excuse himself. He didn't want to cause the amused smile on his companion's face to widen any more at his attempts of hiding yawns.
Surprisingly, Kai was courteous enough to escort him to his tower and even wished him a good-night. It was then that Rei stopped to wonder how much the man had changed. The Hiwatari heir was now so polite and helpful and open with him that one couldn't almost recognise him as the same man. Briefly the neko-jin contemplated what had brought forth this change, but then shrugged it off. It wasn't like it had anything to do with him, so why bother mulling over it?
Sorry for the shortness. It's just such a good place to stop. More action on the next one! This was kind of an interlude of some sorts. But the next one… uh-oh, there's something wrong with Yuriy (again) and Rei gets to deal with the consequences (again)!
Yamato Nadeshiko – The ideal woman in Japan: quiet, obedient and beautiful. Lives only to make her husband happy.